Same Story for Alinghi, Emirates Team New Zealand

Day 5 of Act IV of the Louis Vuitton Cup

Valencia0620
Stuart Streuli

VALENCIA, Spain-When the results of Acts IV through XIV are totaled up in 2007 in preparation for the 32nd America's Cup, Alinghi's scores will be erased from the results. But that was little consolation today for Emirates Team New Zealand, which lost to Alinghi in the final match of unbeaten teams in Act IV. That loss combined with a win by BMW Oracle in its heavyweight bout with Luna Rossa Challenge dropped Team New Zealand into a tie for second with BMW Oracle. Those two syndicates-both of which are loaded with New Zealand sailors-will square off tomorrow in the final flight with first place points on the line. Since Alinghi does not factor in the points each team takes away from each act, the winner of the BMW Oracle/Emirates Team New Zealand match will take home the first place points from Act IV. Further down the score sheet, both Desafio Español and Victory Challenge had two-win days and pulled themselves a little further away from the third-tier teams. K-Challenge and +39 both had disappointing days; the former was unable to start the second race due to a break down and the latter lost, thought not unexpectedly, to BMW Oracle and Alinghi. The heavily anticipated rematch of the 2003 America's Cup contest was, unfortunately for both ETNZ and spectators, devoid of much excitement. After a split-tack start, with Alinghi taking the right side and heading off on port, the Swiss team won the first cross and extended from there to take a 31-second lead around the first mark. After an uneventful run downwind-both boats were flying symmetric spinnakers in the freshest breeze yet seen in Act IV-ETNZ seemed to crawl a little bit closer on the first part of the second beat, drawing to within two boatlengths. But that was as close as they would get. As they did on the first beat, the defenders protected the right side-which has consistently proven to be favored on the Juliet (aka South) Course-and slowly regained the 3 to 4 boatlength advantage they'd enjoyed for much of the first lap. "We've felt pretty good against everybody else," said ETNZ tactician Terry Hutchinson, "except for that boat. In those conditions they seem to have a tick [of extra speed] and they seem to be able to keep on going." Alinghi Sailing Director Jochen Schuemann was less convinced they had a speed edge over the New Zealand boat, but was pleased with the result nonetheless. "That's what we hoped and worked for," he said, noting the nearly 10-week training and development program the team put in during the spring. "We have big respect for all the teams, especially Tam New Zealand." The match up of the one-loss teams, BMW Oracle and Luna Rossa, proved more dramatic. After a tense, but relatively even pre-start, the boats split tacks off the line, with BMW Oracle taking the pin on starboard and Luna Rossa the boat on port. Though this course has seemed to favor the right side, BMW Oracle strategist Eric Doyle said they wanted the left side. "We thought it was pretty even," said Doyle of the start, "slightly left for pressure." BMW Oracle won the first cross with a leebow and slowly gained almost a two-boatlength advantage by the top of the course. Luna Rossa, with James Spithill at the helm and American Charlie McKee in the afterguard charged back on the run, getting an overlap and then even surging ahead as the boats sailed down on starboard tack. But since the boats weren't on layline, the Americans still held the tactical advantage and used it to hold the Italian team out past the layline for the starboard gate. In a surprise move, the Luna Rossa followed BMW Oracle, but struggled with their spinnaker drop and had 50 feet or so trailing alongside the boat as they headed upwind. The eventually gave up on retrieving the spinnaker and left it, in tatters, for the chase boat to gather. According to a redress protest filed by Luna Rossa after the race, a portion of the spinnaker or spinnaker gear became entangled in the prop of the umpire boat following the action, which is why they couldn't pull it back in. A hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. tomorrow local time and could result in the race being re-sailed. Tomorrow is the final day of racing in Act IV. The teams will then have two days off-though that's a relative term for most all the teams given how much work is required for these regattas-before the fleet racing starts on Friday. Results Flight Nine Desafio Español 2007 (ESP 67) beat +39 Challenge (ITA 59) - delta 0:51 United Internet Team Germany (GER 72) beat China Team (CHN 69) - delta 0:44 Victory Challenge (SWE 63) beat Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team (ITA 77) - delta 2:21 Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA 74) won; Team Shosholoza (RSA 83) did not finish BMW ORACLE Racing (USA 76) beat K-Challenge (FRA 60) - delta 1:32 Alinghi (SUI 75) beat Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL 82) - delta 0:36 Flight Ten Desafio Español 2007 (ESP 67) won; China Team (CHN 69) did not start Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team (ITA 77) won; +39 Challenge (ITA 59) did not start Victory Challenge (SWE 63) beat United Internet Team Germany (GER 72) - delta 0:35 BMW ORACLE Racing (USA 76) beat Luna Rossa Challenge (ITA 74) - delta 0:56 Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL 82) beat Team Shosholoza (RSA 83) - delta 4:00 Alinghi (SUI 75) beat K-Challenge (FRA 60) - delta 1:22 Points Leaderboard Alinghi 10 Emirates Team New Zealand 9 BMW ORACLE Racing 9 Luna Rossa Challenge 8 Desafio Español 2007 6 Victory Challenge 5 +39 Challenge 3 K-Challenge 3 Mascalzone Latino-Capitalia Team 3 United Internet Team Germany 3 China Team 1 Team Shosholoza 0